Samsung CEO steps down amidst 'unprecedented crisis'

Samsung CEO steps down amidst 'unprecedented crisis'

Kwon Oh-hyun, one of three co-chief executives, cited the unprecedented crisis at the company in his resignation.

His decision to resign comes at a time when the company tries to clean up its reputation amidst bribery case. A day earlier, Samsung's heir apparent Lee Jae-yong began a court appeal of his five-year jail sentence on charges that he won political favor through bribes paid to non-profit foundations. Kwon claimed he had been thinking about leaving "for quite some time" and could "no longer put it off" - The BBC reports.

"As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company (to) start anew", he said in a statement. He is expected to deliver his letter of resignation to Lee Jae-yong and the board of directors soon.

"I want my resignation to be an opportunity for a higher level of challenge and innovation and to overcome this hard situation", Kwon said in the statement.

Mr Choi Gee Sung, Lee's mentor, quit earlier this year for his alleged role in the bribery scandal, and Samsung Electronics now needs to fill several more key roles with Mr Kwon's exit.

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However, Samsung's legitimate business would appear to be ticking over nicely, with the company revealing its financial forecasts for the rest of the year.

Kwon is stepping down as head of Samsung Electronics' device solutions division, which includes the semiconductor business, and will not seek re-election as a member of the company's board when his term ends next March. Operating profit is expected to leap to KRW 14.4-14.6 trillion from 5.2 trillion year-on-year. Kwon's departure from Samsung makes way for a new management that can finish the company's delayed reshuffle of its top executives.

The boost was driven by strong sales from Samsung's semiconductor business, which supplies memory chips for rival phone makers like Apple. Samsung hasn't given out information on the timing of succession, nor did it share who will take on Kwon's responsibilities when he leaves next year.

Still, Kwon's announcement was unexpected, especially with the company making record profit from its semiconductor business, and the group is now left without a leader.

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